HMRC’s Counter-Avoidance Directorate was established to challenge anyone who has participated in tax avoidance schemes. The formation of this team has enabled HMRC’s operational and policy resources to unite into a single centre of expertise and is responsible for challenging avoidance schemes, issuing Accelerated Payment Notices (APNs), Follower Notices, and dealing with any representations thereon.
If you’ve engaged in planning, which is perceived by HMRC to be tax avoidance, you’re now far more open to scrutiny than ever before. The introduction of APNs, Follower Notices and the Targeted Anti-Avoidance Rule has given HMRC increased powers to attack such schemes and- obtain the tax payments HMRC believes are due, without being tied up in litigation.
New legislation even prevents you from using the fact that you have sought advice as a defence, where those people giving the advice are connected with the transaction itself. Despite this, new avoidance arrangements continue to be developed and promoted.
It has, therefore, never been more important to seek independent advice where you, or HMRC, believe you have been involved in a tax planning arrangement.